Protective Orders in Virginia

There are three types of protective orders to protect you and family members:

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO) -- may last 72 hours
  • Preliminary Protective Order (PPO) -- may last 15 days or until a full hearing
  • Protective Order -- may last up to 2 years
Step I: If you need immediate help, and the Courts are closed, see the Magistrate at Riverside Regional Jail to request and EPO which will expire in 72 hours; the phone number is (804) 524-6611.
Step II: Contact the Court to get the necessary forms for a preliminary protective order if protection longer than 72 hours is needed.  The forms must then be filed with the local Court Services Unit at (804) 733-2786; you must make an appointment with the Intake Officer to review the forms. Do not wait until your EPO expires before you contact this office.  Take with you all necessary information concerning yourself and the defendant to include full name, date of birth, social security number, and address.
Step III: You will have to appear in Court at the Preliminary Hearing to get the PPO.
Step IV: You must appear at the full Court Hearing which will take place after the Preliminary Hearing; the defendant will be present.  The court will notify you of this date.  At the full hearing, the Judge may order a Protective Order, which may last for 2 years.  If you do not go to this hearing, the Protective Order will not be issued and the PPO will expire in 15 days.
Step V: If the defendant does not appear at the Preliminary Hearing, ask the Court to issue another PPO with a new date for a full hearing; however, a Protective Order does not take effect until it is served on the defendant and personal service is received by the Sheriff's Deputy.  Provide the Sheriff's Department with valid information on the defendant such as address, phone number, place of work, etc., so personal service can be received.  You may call the Sheriff's Department at (804) 733-2690 to see if service has been received.
Step VI: The court may issue a no contact order which means the defendant cannot contact you in person, by phone, email, etc. or even through someone else.  If you must sometimes have contact with the defendant, please notify the Judge of this at the Hearing.
Step VII: If the defendant violates the Protective Order, call the Police Department where you reside, and the defendant may be arrested.


For more information and assistance, call the Victim/Witness Coordinator at (804) 863-1826.